Saturday, November 17, 2007

So, Where Do I Start?

Web designOne aspect of my work is the area of "graphical treatment conversion".

Huh? What's that?

Well, basically, my clients sometimes call me in to work with a graphical designer. These are folks who have a great eye for color and layout, but aren't skilled in creating actual web pages. The designer creates pictures of what the website should look like and how it should behave. Then they hand those pictures (the "graphical treatment") to me.

Then I convert those pictures into an actual web page/web site. I do this with a combination of HTML and CSS.

Don't be scared by the acronyms. As I mentioned in one of my TLA tutorials, HTML is just a way of indicating the structure of a web document. With it, I can tell the browser that this chunk of text is a body paragraph and this other one is a section heading. CSS just tells the computer what each of these structures is supposed to look like. For example, it might say that the section heading is in 18 point bold, bright red Arial font and is centered on the page.

The conversion process goes a lot faster and easier if the end client does two things. First, they really should hire a professional web designer or at least a professional graphical designer with lots of Web experience. There are some design elements which are easier than others when it comes to converting them for the Web. If the designer knows this, then the resulting website will not only be up and running faster, but will also probably work better as well.

The other thing?

If you should ever hire a professional web designer, listen to their advice. They probably won't completely refuse if you want to have pink text on a light purple background, but they will have some strong reasons why it won't work. Find out what they are.

Can you tell when someone has hired a professional designer?


Anonymous said...

Actually, I think it is more evident when someone has NOT hired a professional designer.
(take my wardrobe for instance :)

Chris Slocumb said...

Great Post Greg. It is SO worth the minimal investment to hire the graphic designer upfront. Also sites that have consistent graphical treatments such as icon sets look so much more professional.